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MonkeyNotes-Titus Andronicus by William Shakespeare
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Tamora

Tamora is the queen of Goths who is defeated and made prisoner by the Roman general Titus Andronicus. She is first introduced in the play as a mother who she doesn’t hesitate to beg with the Romans to spare her son’s life. Titus’ refusal to do 2what is easily in his power to do hardens her heart against him.

Tamora is a beautiful and sensual woman: Saturninus is struck by her beauty at the very first sight of her and soon makes her his wife. Tamora, a shrewd woman, accepts his offer because it promises her freedom and power as the Empress of Rome. She is determined to make full use of her powerful position to revenge herself upon Titus who made her "kneel in the streets and by for grace in vain." Fully acquainted with the art of political deceit, she is quick to advice Saturninus to dissemble and treat Titus as a friend. Thus by disarming Andronicus with false friendship she makes him an easy target of her secret plans of revenge. Sensuality is an important part of Tamora’s nature and this aspect comes forth in her relationship with Aaron, the Moor, who is her lover. She has no qualms about carrying on a sexual relationship with him even when she is married to Saturninus. She is a woman totally devoid of morals, with her passions and her selfish interests guiding her actions.

She has an unforgiving and hard nature: she refuses Lavinia’s pleas for mercy. Nonetheless, one admires her for being a strong woman. When Saturninus is falling apart with fear on hearing Lucius planned attack on Rome, she shows a warrior’s spirit. Instead of being afraid, she takes change of the situation and devices a plan of action to remedy the situation.


Her disguise as "Revenge" in Act V is symbolic of the passion, which is a large part of her character. She dies a victim of an outrage, which she was largely responsible for. Although the maternal instinct is strong in her, as seen in her grief over Alarbus’ death, pride takes precedence over such tender emotions. This is also seen in her order to Aaron to kill their son because he is black and will therefore bring disgrace to her name.

Tamora is a strong woman: she has the strength of her passions, a shrewd intelligence and great beauty. She is definitely a force to be reckoned with. But in the final analysis she is one of the play’s villains, hers is a wicked character, the force she has is without any morality to guide it. The last words of the play leave no doubt of her complete assimilation into the animal kingdom, "As for that heinous tiger, Tamora / ... Her life was beast like and devoid of pity; / And, being so, shall have like want of pity".

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